A COMMUNITY lead project has secured a £110,000 grant from Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Shipston Area Flood Action Group (SAFAG) is using natural materials to reduce run off, slow the flow and delay the effects of heavy rainfall entering the 36 tributaries that feed the River Stour, upstream of Shipston.

They will also improve water quality, wildlife habitat and are significantly less expensive than hard engineering solutions, such as barriers.

The Stour Valley Catchment extends to 187 square kilometres, within South Warwickshire, as well as parts of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, from where the largest watercourse knee brook emanates in the vicinity of Chipping Campden.

Thanks to the co-operation and huge support of farmers and landowners and with the dedicated planning and design work of a project officer from Coventry University SAFAG have implemented nearly 60 natural flood management interventions across six estates and farms on the Cam, Blockley Brook, Paddlebrook and other feeds to the Knee Brook in three months.

With continued central and local government financial backing, support from landowners and farmers and sponsorship from local businesses and housing developers, the Knee Brook project is well on track for completion in the first half of next year.

Once finished over 200 natural flood defence measures will be in place and will be regularly monitored for efficiency and maintenance requirements.

Hon. Philip Smith of Campden House Estate who has been extremely supportive of the project commented: “This is just the sort of initiative that should be encouraged by government as it is “bottom up”, involving volunteers and experts in land drainage in collaboration with farmers and landowners to the benefit of towns and villages at risk of flooding.”

The group has attracted interest and visits from the executive director of the Environment Agency and his senior management team.

At the end of October, Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi joined a group meeting and visited some of the installations at Campden House.

The group members are also working with Warwickshire County Council and the National Flood Forum in their efforts to establish more flood action groups across the county.

If you would like to know more about flood prevention measures or to follow the progress of SAFAG in the future, visit www.shipstonfloodaction.org